Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Thanks for the Birthday wishes and the get well wishes. (And the charms....)

Yesterday started out really nice (no pains in my back) but I got a heavy gift in the mail and tweaked it again.... With that said, I was not so bad that I could not bake a cake (Thanks for sharing the recipe - DebR) and go out for sushi. :o) But I can only take my medicine when I know I am in for the night.... So right now I am feeling the pain.....

On Sunday, I had another bridal shower & the word is officially out, I want gift cards to Sears so I can get a digital camera! (I am between 1/2 and 2/3 of the way there!) I also got some more towels, a cookbook, a romantic book & a satin robe.

If any of you are looking for a career change or have kids that are wonding what to be when they grow up.... may I suggest Physical Therapy. All of the Sports Medicine/Physical Therapy places around here are too busy for new patients. I have been calling around trying to get seen for a few days....

Saturday, January 28, 2006

well wishes

Thanks for all of the well wishes!

I have "lumbar strain" with muscle spasms - trying to protect the back. We are postponing the x-rays for now, since I will be getting married soon & you all know what happens on honeymoons (if my back is better). We don't need to add the radiation to the mix.

I have a script for Physical Therapy & two perscriptions - Tylenol 4 for the pain (Think of what you thing lightening feels like & that is the pain in my thighs) and Flexaril a muscle relaxant & directions to relax (lay down on the couch and watch tv) and take it easy.

I need glasses - so I will keep in mind the advice about them.... I am sure that I will at least need bifocals. :o) I'll have to bring an applique block so that the DR can see how I "look" with my eyes at the project.

With my yearly GYN appt next week and dental visit the week after, I'll postpone the eyes until after the wedding.... (Everything is happening all at once - like I did not have enough stress already! Sheesh!)

My Birthday is Monday, so I will not be in blogger until Tuesday - hopefully feeling a lot better!

Friday, January 27, 2006

"oh my aching back...."

Have I mentioned that a little under two weeks ago, I hurt my back..... (I must have, this is a first & I have mentioned it to every set of ears/eyes around!) If not, well I did & I don't know how.
I did not try to lift anything, I did not fall, I did not twist, etc. Believe me I have tried to figure it out.

So on Wednesday last week, I stayed home - the pain was so bad that I had to crawl to the bathroom. I used heat and Nuprin for the pain. I felt good enough to return to work on Thursday. I kept taking the Nuprin about daily. Saturday I went ot my swimming lesson - no problems & the hot tub felt great on my back. Along comes Sunday night and I had cramps like you wouldn't believe... (The timing was right... I know, just what you need in addition to a backache, huh?) Monday morning - NADA (I still had the backache) so I am asking all of my female co-workers, "What gives?" STRESS was the resounding answer. By Tuesday, I not only started but the pain in my back was horrendous! (I stayed home again. I hadn't missed school or work becasue of that in EONS.) Last night we had the second fitting for my wedding gown and followed that with Sushi. I misjudged the rise on the stairs when we were leaveing the restaurant and boy did I know it! I even winced out loud from the pain. Then I got home (And found a parking space - THANK YOU for that miracle.) and bent down next to my car to set my bag down so that I could take out my gown to bring it inside and hang it up....

That was the official straw that broke this camels back.... I felt firey bursts of pain run down my legs and stayed there for a long time.

So instead of waiting until Wednesday when I have my annual check-up, I am going to try to get in to see my Dr. today.....

Needless to say, there hasn't been too much sewing going on in my little corner of DC.... Although standing is one of the better positions for me and I did cut some while standing. (Trimming 6.5 inch squares down to 5 inchers for my I SPY quilts.)

Also on the quilting front, I got some new to me kitty fat quarters yesterday in the mail from a swap! There were a few that I already had, but more is more & they are welcome! I also got some Oriental fat quarters - most of those were new to me too!

Final note, I am in a birthday fat quarter swap with one of my yahoo groups and I got a lovely new to me (but I did get a charm of it for my cat charm quilt - so I know it is older...) kitty fat quater. That one is going into my I SPY quilts - becasue it is chock full of words and sayings...

I hope all of you are faring better than I & I hope to have a photo to share soon!
Wish me luck with the Dr.....

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sorry, but I have to rant!

Once upon a time ago, I got engaged... Happy, happy, joy, joy. And then we started to make decisions... We had serious choices to make! For the ones that I did not have an opinion about, I allowed Michael (and to a lesser extent his Mother) to make the decision. For example, getting married on Feb. 19, 2006 - Michael's choice and he had some GREAT reasons for chooseing that date (long weekend, no Sunday School, location available, caterer available, etc.) and I was not set on being a "June Bride." so the date was set.

Now we could do fun stuff like register for gifts! We chose to register at Sears and JCPenneys - two middle America shops that a wide variety of people would feel comfortable with (not too high brow).

Michael set up the JCPenneys registry online... I filled it with stuff that we will need and or want. & then it sat - we did not have invitations yet, nor had we let everyone know about out wish list. :o)

Then we sent out out invitations (I let Michael choose them too - he chose a beautiful inviation at a reasonable cost!) and a few people purchased a gift or two for us. (You can tell if you "check" the registry & Michael checks "regularly!") But we never "got" anything. So we assumed that they were purchased by attending guests who would bring the gift to the event. WRONG!

JCPenneys "Scr*wed-up" the ship to address. All it said was "Michael Sh" PERIOD. No street address, no city, no zip code, no phone number, etc. However, when we checked the site we could "see" the correct information. & When people checked ship to the couple, the did not see anything to notice that address was missing... You see JCPenneys was "handling" that for the guests - so that they did not need to know the address while placing the order...

One of the gift givers was Michael's friend Eric. So yesterday Eric called and started with the "I was wondering why I did not get a Thank You card... and then JCPenney credited my account..." Eric researched and found that UPS returned the item to JCPenney as undeliverable - I WONDER WHY?

Luckily, only 4 people ordered anything to be shipped to us and JCPenney is supposed to be contacting them by phone and letter... And Michael is working on what kind of "considerations" we will get for their error...

Michael will call JCPenneys again this afternoon...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Sn*w & I SPY

Well It certainly does not feel like snow & I don't recall any weater prognosticators mentioning snow, but when I look out the window of my corner office (YES, I do to have a corner office... Becasue I am quiet and don't "bug" the boss with my phone calls, radio, etc. - Everyone has a wall of windows - but I have two) I see flurries. I even rubbed my eyes to make sure. We won't have accumulation and it can probably be blamed on the wind, but it is January & we have snow - how is that for normal? (Party cloudy & the sun is bright - so this too shall pass.)

My dad was right - mark it on you calendars.... I admitted it and it is true. He has quite often said, "No one can read you mind, if you want something you have to ask for it." I did and many of you are going to send me some I SPY charms. Thanks so much!

Here is the skinny on the charms = 5 inch squares. Small scale or large scale, adult or childish - the more adult the better, etc. all are o.k. - but I already have enough "Holiday" prints... These are meant to be more generic.

More info.? I am make 4 twin sized I SPY quilts. Each one has a minimum of about 250 charms. (About 1000 total) with two of them, haveing 2.5 x 5 rectangles in addition to the 5 inch squares. (I am cutting small scale prints in half for those - or where in my stash I have a visible easily identifiable part that is not whole - I am using those. - i.e. the head and part of the body of a walrus.)

So anything is o.k. (I hate to admit it, but I probably have enough cats... In the back of my mind I am hearing, "What if they have oldies that you don't have?") Any animals (dogs, birds, fish, etc.), food stuff, transportation, buildings/tools, sports, music, medical, space related, African, Indian, Australian, etc. Any colors, values, styles, etc. SUPRISE ME! & be sure to let me know what I can send you in return.... (Some of my novelties... Abstract cats, Catberry- many varities, dressed up cats, cats on chairs - in yellow, "helper" cats, you get the idea? I also have non-cat stuff.)

Oh yeah, I have about 700 of the 5 inch charms (? the rectangles, becasue some of the 5 inchers may be cut in half as necessary.... this is an evolving project) cats with surf boards, cats weraing walk men radios, cats on quilts, cats driving cars, cats in kimonos, etc. & the backgrounds - teal, peachy orange, yellow and blue.

What if I get too many? Is there such a thing as too many? I can always make another quilt.

The final note on this subject for today.... I pledge to make 1 charity quilt for every dozen charms that are given to me. (The star fling pattern will be used for the charity quilts. Because I have trimmed a ton of my novelties into 3.5 inch squares too.)

Monday, January 23, 2006

I did it!

I finally got back to doing something "quilty." I cut more 5 inch squares for my 4 twin sized "I-Spy" quilts! I also "resorted" them. I thought that two of them were ready for piecing, but I now need "more" for each quilt. Luckily, I have a few more pieces of novelty prints from which to cut, but no where near enough for the variety I desire.

So I am begging for your scraps... Just a 5 inch square of a novelty print. My only thing is that I do not care to have any more "holiday" specific prints. (I have enough of those already - these are generic quilts not a celebration of the holidays...)

I now have 4 incomplete kits, becasue where I started by just counting 200+ squares without paying attention to value or image, I have now separatedtehm into "favorite" images - this is where my sheep with carders and spinning wheels is located as well an image of a "Q"uilt, "U"nderwear, "X"-ray - you get the point. Then there is a "dark" quilt where the backgrounds or images are predominantly black, navy, red. And a "light" quilt where the backgrounds are mostly white, cream, yellow & some lighter mediums.... And the last one is for the "left-overs" these include duplicates form the other categories as well as images that I am only "o.k." with, but I want to use for variety and to get them out of my stash! My goal to to do something like Mary did with her Log Cabins - only mine will not be so similar :o).

If you can help me with my quest, Please let me know! I am willing to swap - either other novelty charms or a fat quarter or two....

Thanks, Amy

Friday, January 20, 2006


Country Acres15 1⁄8" x 17 1⁄4"
by Lola Hendrickson, Apple Valley, Minnesota Based on Cabin Cozy Flannel from Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting magazine, issue date: January/February 2004.

I need motivation & since I asked I have recieved a lot of good advice - from let it roll to clean up your space....

One tidbit of advice was to look at completed quilts. So I wandered over to Fons & Porters website & saw this little gem. It made me smile, becasue I have this full size quilt as a UFO. (The photo shows a mini-from a challenge that the magazine hosted.) Mine will be similar - super scrappy, but my darks are Oriental prints and my backgrounds will be creams, taupes, whites - not shirtings and light prints as shown.

The good part - I remember the UFO and am slightly interested in cutting for it again. (I have all of the darks cut - excluding the border & none of the lights cut.)

Also while visiting their website, I found this pattern which you can use to showcase 1 novelty print or a collection of them (this pattern can make an otherwise unrelated pile of dog fabrics - you know Mumm Prints and Bright prints and realistic prints - come together beautifully.) I am also including it here because the sample quilt is SOOO ME (brights, black & whites, & cats.....) Or should that be "SEW ME"! The best part, it's a free pattern, so enjoy it & feel free to use it.

Any motivation tips are greatly appreciated....

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


I knew it was bound to happen.... I have "slumped." My underlying goal of 2006 was to do something quilty everyday. I don't feel as though I have. But as I tried to type specifics I remembered that yesterday, I met a fellow quilter at Jinny Beyer's shop & purchased 2 fat 1/8th of "cat fur" fabric. I followed up that minimal purchase with a "I Spy" binge at G-Street Fabrics. (So if buying is quilty - I did something quilty yesterday.) On Sunday, I met my mini-group and pressed a top and back so that I can send them out to be quilted! Pressing is definately quilty! I also made a fabric purchase - I had a coupon burning a hole in my pocket - I bought a back, so it is not all bad.... However, I brought Pandora, the featherweight, and she did nto even leave her box.... Working backwards, that brings us to Saturday... Did I do anything quilty on Saturday? (I don't recall.) And Back to Friday - I don't recall. On Thursday, I did stitch some of my hanging sleeve...

I really need a dose of motivation - Hopefully my swimming tonight will not tucker me out too much.... (I don't need another excuse!)

I hope you guys had a more quilting filled holiday....

BTW Judy's Corn and Bean salad was a hit, but quite a few gals asked that I refrain from using the cilentro next time. I also made a "Poor Man's Pie" Not sure why it is called that, but it is SUPER easy!

Poor Man's Pie
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 large can of fruit or pie filling (I usually use the 29oz can of sliced peaches)
1 stick butter or margarine
9x13 pan
Put stick of butter in pan and melt in a 350˚ oven. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add enough juice from canned fruit and/or milk to make batter (about the consistency of cake batter, but it might be a little frothy). Pour into pan over hot melted butter. Do Not Stir. Spoon fruit or pie filling over top of batter and butter. Do Not Stir. Bake at 350˚till deep golden brown, about 30 minutes. Good warm or cold.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Three Day Weekend!

I first, I hope all of you enjoy the Martin Luther King Holiday! I hope it is a quilty one!
I plan to run a few errands in a few minutes then off to make Judy's Corn & Bean salad (They will get the "joke" - corn and beans is a traditional quilt block.... Dear Fiancee' did not "get it.") for my mini-groups sewing & eating session. (I hope to sew a bunch on my rail fence quilt....) and on Monday in the morning I am going to Jinny Beyer's Studio to meet a fellow quilter for the first time - The internet really is a small place!

Happy quilting!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Fabric types

I know and dearly love many quilters who neatly fit into a "type." Lucky for some of them I live fairly close to Jinny Beyer's Studio (I am down Georgetown Pike, across the Potomac and a couple miles inside the arc - Capital Beltway) so they can stop by as they get a new kit or they ask me to get a kit & send it when I send out a goodie bag! Her shop is a treat, especially if you like her style and want to replicate one of her quilts - even some Oldies but Goodies. You'd be hard pressed to not find a "little bit more" of one of her fabrics. I happily scoop up a couple of her charm packs for my self - that is all I "need" for my scrappy quilts. I can admit that I do own a Jinny Beyer kit or two (maybe 3).

Others are similar but they like Thimbleberries or Mumm fabrics. I plan to do and all Thimbleberries quilt using this free cat pattern. I am also doing a scrappy blue and yellow version of that cat quilt.

Then there are those who only like pure colors, while other like pastels, or the Hunter, Berry, Navy scheme.

Others really are drawn to Orientals, batiks, homespuns, novelties or some other type that is not also determined by a fabric designer or a color spectrum.

Many of us are a "Mixture!"

I am definately a mixture - loyal readers have seen quilts that stretched my norm like the Robyn Pandolf only quilt. I like most kinds of fabrics and therefore am drawn to making color based scrap quilts. If my blue and yellow has everything form Civil War Repros. and 30's repros. to Thimbleberries and Jan Mullen brights, the color itself ties them together.
But I also like to do thematic scrappy quilts like all Oriental or all Civil War reprodiction prints.
That being said, here is a Lantern Quilt by Nines that I have kitted to make Scrappy Oriental - no two lanterns the same for my version. I found the pattern in Making Scrap Quilts to use It Up by Lynne Edwards. (Amazon Link, you can even "take a peek inside" I also love the blue and orange quilt on the cover.) I even cut out the templates, but I am not ready to tackle the triangles.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I am finally inspired to compose

Stash quilts - what is our/your/my goal?

Some people have no qualms about having a ton of fabric waiting around for inspiration to strike... "I liked it so I bought it."
Others view it as their Pallette & feed (feel) the need to have every possible hue and texture of fabric available. "I did not have that shade of green."
Some cannot toss anything that might be remotely useable. An example was posted by Lucy. I never would have found it possible to create that quilt because I don't save scraps that are that small. Bonnie has created a number of lovely scrap quilts, many of which I'd like to make as well. While others only make quilts that are comprised of a specially selected group of about 4 fabrics.

There are other types of quilters out there who have and use their stashes differently & in my book they are all o.k.!

From my POV - the idea really is to try to use what you have first. You already bought it - so use it. Some people actually want to "get rid of" or to "Use up" their stashes while more just want to use it wisely. I am in the use it wisely camp.
A specific example: I am currently using a moda marble in teal - becasue I have it more that becasue I want to.... I will like it a whole lot more in my project than in my stash. (It is going to be a solid background for an I Spy quilt.) Also I inherited that teal from a quilter friend who passed away several years ago. So the quilt that I make from it will have a special place in my heart. Besides Lynda really LOVED Novelties - so this will be a double pleasure for her too look down upon & smile about! I hope she finally has all the time needed to create masterpieces because her time on earth has passed.

Our Mini-group has created several name quilts, not sure what those are....
My name is AMY and a name quilt for my would include images that start with the letters A, M & Y. Lynda was a pro at creating lists of possible images that we could look for & her stash held many of those images.

My I Spy quilts are more just a jumble of images some I really like others not so much - but I am using my stash & including the less loved images. Since I am doing 4 I spy quilts right now - there is a quilt that holds more of my favorite images while another holds more of my less favorite images - it just works out that way... Meanwhile all 4 of the quilts hold some of the same images. Like "Witches Undies" which is far to clever to not be included in all of the quilts! (They all have a nice assortment of cats too....)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


I have been tagged by Debra! My first time getting tagged for a ME ME. (I have jumped around following a meme before.... So fun to see how different yet similar people are... I have had quite a few "me too" moments! So here ya go.

Four jobs you've had: fast food, Army (long story - big mistake - try to avoid it at all costs!) Grocery store cashier (also avoid at all costs, the money & benefits were really good - better that that of a TEACHER!) & Teacher (Y'all can keep your kids - they were living birth control for me!)
Four movies you could watch over and over: I do not like to rewatch movies, I'd rather choose something new. But I can watch The breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, & Pretty In Pink if they are on TV.
Four places you've lived: Germany (on 3 different occasions) Texas on 3 different occasions and I only miss the bluebonnets, Arizona & Baltimore
Four TV shows you love to watch: I am a PBS Junkie - Frontline, Mystery, Antiques Road Show & Globe Trekker
Four Places You've Been on Vacation: France, Holland, Italy, Austria & I'd liek to go back to have the experience through adult eyes!
Four Websites You Visit Every Day: The Calico Cat :o), Yahoo, The Quilt Maverick Ring & the Stash Quilts Ring
Four Of Your Favorite Foods: Miso Soup, Spicy Tuna Roll, Brisket (cooked my way) & Judy's Spicey Chicken
Four Places You'd Rather Be: Quilting, on vacation - any where, in a home that I own, out of DEBT!
Four Albums you can't live without: I only listen to the radio on the way to & from work when I drive - which has been too much in 2006!
Four People you'll pass this on to: How about anyone who wants to give it a go!


Well, I am still stuffed! Last night we went to a really nice restaurant in DC for Restaurant Week. (Do they have that any where else?) Some of the nicest, most expensive/exclusive places in town have a fixed price menu $30 for appetizer, main dish, & dessert (some even have a special menu, but others allow you to choose anything from their menu) - generally at least 1/2 the price of what it would have been ordinarily. I had a salad, a nice piece of tuna & a bread pudding - none of which were onthe wedding diet..... & I am feeling it today.... Too bad it is rainy, because I need to walk. (Maybe I'll walk anyway - inside.)

On a quilty note, last night I got some novelty charms that I swapped for! There was only 1 duplicate of what I already had & Some brand new kitties :o) So I sorted them into quilt baggies

Aside: I keep everything separate and straight by using ZIPLOC bags! I have a multitude of sizes even the JUMBO ones that are big enough to hold a queen size quilt including the batting! But I don't store batting.

and I trimmed them where necessary: the all over horseshoes got cut in half for the Morning Star quilt and the two new cats got trimmed to 3.5 inch square for a new charm quilt!

I also cut some background for the "Not Americana, Americana quilt." - working title. BTW This is the background that I bought on Saturday: Land of Progress it is actually darker in real life. I got 6 yards = twin size quilt, so I am planning to do a 7x9 layout - leaving room for borders & the long armer....

My favorite way to do quilt shopping arrived yesterday - catalogs! I like them , becasue I can make a list - but I rearely go beyond makeing the list and checking it a few times - makeing revisions, etc. - No dollars (or wasted quit store staff time) are spent in the process!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Not that I am wishing for spring or anything. We have barely had winter & If we skipped spring, I would skip my wedding....

With that said, since Nancy posted about bluebonnets - once of the very few things that I miss about Texas, I decided to post a shot of Washington DC in the spring.

Back to quilting. Last night I trimmed more I Spy Charms... I am getting close to actually cutting from yardage.... I really got into Ami Simms Picture Play Quilts back when it was published several years ago. I even took a class with her on the subject. (I drove for several hours, over 100 miles bright and early in the morning to take it...) I needed novelty prints for the class & She has a way of getting them - similar to makeing swiss cheese - but she has a way of using the "left overs" too. So I traced around the "image finder" and rough cut for several sizes - I was going to make all of those quilts! I trimmed many for the class, but a whole lot more sat un-trimmed until now! Those big enough are becoming Nickels, those not big enough are becoming 3.5 inch squares. (I am almost finished trimming them!)

And I also cut some background strips for the "Not Americana, Americana Quilt." (7x9 layout, mix of red, white, & blue - somehow....)

Which reminded me of an abandoned UFO.... Scrappy blue & yellow (white background) double Irish Chain. I should have had 1 of those colors be the center with the other color on either side, but I didn't Now I am not happy with my results. So I am going to seam rip FOREVER to get the 5 inch squares - so I can trim them down to 3.5 for the Americana quilt.

I have germinal ideas on how to use the rest of the blue & yellow & white bits.....a ton of 4-patches are already made (I just need to release them.) as are quite a few rows of 5 squares - I might do this (scroll down to December 15) with them. We'll see - I still need to find the UFO and seam rip the big squares out....

Monday, January 09, 2006

Bridal Shower & some quilty updates

My first bridal shower was held this past Sunday. A great time was had by all we had good food and a fun time. (Photos may or may not be forth coming... we had camera issues) Among the gifts were a few items from my registry (so I can share the hyperlinks) & some self explainatory stuff including, a Pyrex set & Store and Spin storage (as seen on TV), these towels (inlcuding - wash cloths and hand towels) & this breakfast center. I also got some great stuff that I did not register for including, "Arty" mugs, cash (to pay for my over spending at the quilt shop yesterday) & a wine goblet (Silver), a granny nightgown & slippers (As far away from sexy as you can get) - my friend has suggested that that can be my "I have a headache." nightie, a pasta bowl, a Photo album, a gift card to Sears (I am getting closer to that camera….) a frying pan (Big enough to do my chicken under a brick – but it might have a plastic handle which would not work in the oven…) I saw it made on TV & it has had me intrigued ever since..., a robe & "mood music" and finally last but not least the hit of the party, a money shirt (5 dollar bills made to look like a shirt).

Another party is scheduled later this month. Neither of my brides maids wanted or were able to host everyone - so they are both hostessing a party. :o) & there is chatter in my office about yet another party. Those of you in offices know how we like to have any excuse for a party! Heck my Bithday is coming up - we are going out for Thai food!

On the quilty side of life (a majority of the guests were quilters - so that was a quilty side of life too...), I went to the quilt shop on Saturday to buy some fat quarters for a birthday swap on one of my yahoo groups. (Having a January Birthday, I already received a few fat quarters...) I know I probaly could have pulled these from my stash, but I tend to buy small pieces & many of them have had strips removed already. So buying new was safe! And I could get exactly what they wanted - I am getting what I want - care to guess? Blue & yellow - yes, I know I am predictable...

I also got backgrounds. For the "I Spy" quilts I want to use a single "solidy" background so the novelties don't look cluttered. Before I go on = my plans for those "I Spys" have changed. I originally was going to do two queen sized quilts. I am now going to do four twin sized quilts. Four smaller quilts will use more of my nickel charms and I like the idea of haveing "similar but different" quilts. So I had a teal background for one stretched star quilt and the "similar but different" for that one will be a peachy fabric. For the morning star one will have darker nickels and bright yellow background & the other will have lighter nickels and a bright blue background. (remember I said I am predictable)

I felt really good about mu purchases up to this point. (I really couldn't go much firther with out the background & I don't buy my fabric in big pieces - & definately not solidy like I chose for these quilts.) But then I "looked." & I purchased a great back - for my "Americana" not Americana quilt. I am not making an Americana quilt, but 99% of the people who see a red white and blue quilt will think it is an Americana quilt. I am really doing another Star Fling with novelties in the center. I am using the red, white, & blue because I had to make a red & blue log cabin block for a birthday block & cut for this at the same time. The back is red, white, & blue...
And I bought some sale fabrics & a gradiated print that is an AWESOME cat fur fabric. (For realistic cat applique.)

Now I really should not "need" to buy fabric for a long time... I will inventory my quilt kits and verify which ones have their backs and bindings - I may buy those next Sunday during my mini-group with a coupon.....

So far I have done something quilty every day in 2006. :o) Quilty includes sorting and other "light" tasks in addition to cutting sewing and pressing. Last night I trimmed more novelty prints into 3.5 inch squares for star fling blocks.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

To YBR or not to YBR?

Recently on Stashbusters, a yahoo group that I have been on for quite sometime now we have been talking about Yellow Brick Road (YBR) quilts. It is a pattern for sale by Atkinson Designs. Well here is my most recent ones and its story.

Aside: Apparently there are some people who really don't like it. & I can see why. If you haven't done one, realize that it is a show case for a fabric collection - nothing more. (BTW - the name came about because the original has a lot of yellow - ther eis not road - so you can quit trying to find it....)

Back to the regularly scheduled story:
I have successfully made a YBR before - a baby and a queen/king size to be more specific. I previously gathered12 FQ's and the border and backing fabric. (One of my favorite shops had a fat quarter sale $1 each! The "plaid/woven ribons" fabric was my inspiration piece.) So all I have to do was cut and sew and cut and sew... No big deal right, I started out by cutting the fat quarters the wrong way. (In case you did not know, there is a right and a wrong way to cut them using this pattern.) So I had "left-overs." At this point I was not 100% sure that I had cut the fq's wrong. So I started to do the first two sewing steps - I correctly doubled the amounts (1 of the few things I did right.) I then skipped ahead to the part where you cut the "other" 6.5-inch strips into four 5-inch units. My strips were only making three units. So I fished out two similar fat quarters to make up the missing units (my earlier left-overs were not big enough.) Since I was cutting, I started to cut the skinny pieced into 9.5-inch units - most of mine were not long enough to make 2 from each strip. So I figured out how many I needed and made the rest from the "left-overs."Now to the sewing machine. (Amazingly no mistakes here) and to the pressing. I now took my "step H" units and sewed long skinny pieces to them - this was a mistake. So I did not make and "step I" blocks.(& I messed up how those were supposed to be used with the other units - but I did not know it yet.) For me it was time to sub-cut. I was supposed to get 2 cuts of 1 size and 2 cuts of the other size.You probably guessed, I got 2 of one cut, but only 1 of the other(after messing up buy cutting a few of the skinnier pieces 1/2 to narrow.), so once again, I went to my "left-overs" and cut "full"strips to replace the missing pieced strips. Luckily I had enough. Now some of my "Step C" look like they are supposed to while others do not have "squares." And for steps E & F, some use a pieced long piece while the others look like they are supposed to. My blocks all ended up the right size & all look "right" but I have about 5 different blocks instead of 3. Finally, according to the directions, I was supposed to make 35 blocks. I ended up with 40. Luckily I have enough "left-overs" to make 2 more blocks for a 6x7 layout. My border was made a bit skinny, but it still fits the back. Oh and here is the back. You might have started by saying - those aren't "Amy colors" and you would be right. I am not sure why but I fell in love with the ribbon print & so felt compelled to buy some fat quarters to go with it. Luckily they were only $1 each and they all go used in this quilt. After all that was said - I LOVE the back.... Isn't is scrumptious. I like it so much that the "quilting" goes with the back not the front :o) (Unless you think the pinks and burgundies and ribbons go with fishies.....) So now do I have a whole cloth quilt with a pieced back? Maybe.....

I hope this works... I posted the close ups in the next two blogs (I had to write them first....)

Just playing with how this format works.....


Which one is the top? BTW that fish quilting design is from Quiltmaker & I have a feeling that I will be using it again - seeing how I want to do the quilt in the magazine that used it. It is unfortunately not part of their free quilting motifs, but if you (like me) are interested in quilting like Tonya - there are some patters - if the drawing is one of the areas where you are nervous (like me). Back to Quiltmaker - this is the only magazine that I subscribe to... Everything is doable & so far they have kept my interst from issue to issue. Anyone else subscribe?

close-up shots

Here is a flower. This is one of those lilly pad flowers to go with the general water theme. This was also used on my faux log cabin. (Unfortunately I still only have a tiny photo of it...)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

What is it?

It is an experiment!
I like applique, when I am in the mood. But my applique "moves." I saw Carol Armstrong on Simply Quilts several years ago & liked her patterns. So I bought her book. (Oh how I was over my head.....) I also like double wedding ring, but the thought of piecing it - lets just say that that is not an Amy friendly pattern. :o) So while flipping through Carol's book Wildflower Designd for Applique, I saw an appliqued double wedding ring with Dogwood blossoms - have I mentioned that I LOVE Dogwood trees? I knew I wanted to make this quilt. (only smaller - reality is my friend)
At a quilt show, I purchased the "Perfect" fabrics for this project. The are hand dyeds - I got a gradiation of pink for the blossoms and a couple greens for leaves and binding. I decided that the templar and starch method would be best for this project - several of the same shapes used over and over. I was even able to purchase a single sheet of templar. I don't choose that applique method often.... (I later found that I had some at home. Moral: make a list and check it twice before heading off to shop!) I traced and cut out my shapes in templar.

Why you might ask did I get it pre-quilted?
My thought is that with my "moving applique" problem, I needed to get my quilt sandwich quilted first so that I could applique in the lines.... Finding someone to take up the challenge was challenging.... To begin with it was exceptionally hard to describe what I wanted & then there is the fact that quilting circles requires a special tool that not all quilters own & then becasue I want to follow a pattern, they needed to be spaced correctly, etc. I persevered, but the project stalled.
Another book by the same author that I own: (I am a "SUCKER" for cat quilt patterns, books, fabric, etc.)
Cat's on Quilts by Carol Armstrong (The hyperlink is to Amazon - where you can see a bit of the inside.)
Apparently based upon the hyperlink above, you can now get the pattern that I want to do singlely, but it was originally published in this book:
Wildflower Designs for Applique (Again an Amazon Hyperlink)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Baby quilt

Last night I trimmed more novelty nickels & sorted them once again. (I have more to trim & I am swapping some so I still have not started to sew on the stretched star...)

Here is the quilt for my cousin Cheryl's second baby. We do not know the sex yet, so I used a neutral yellow for the border. This is a charm "I Spy" quilt. Squares are an easy charm & I like easy. Since we do not know the sex, I tried to use both masculine and feminine images. I also used a lot of Aunt Grace, because to me that type of fabric says, "baby." I guess that is becasue it is generally pastel and dainty. The daintyness also make it a great candidate for "I Spy" quilts. There will be quite a few in my own "I Spy" quilt even though I do not care for that style of fabric.

In the other photo, you are actually seeing the binding and border of Kassidy's Star Fling quilt, but I used the same binding on both quilts. I really love to use stripes as binding. The pink & blue one here works so well with both of these quilts.

I let Linda play on this quilt, too. and as you can see this one is not heart filled like the last one. In addition to sharing the same binding, these quilts also share the same backing, a pink flannel with cats and a pink flannel with poodles. (The store did not have enough of the cats, so I included the dogs.)

I hope the baby & the babies momma enjoy this quilt.


First, Last night I cut out 800 background squares for my stretched star quilt. about 1/2 are teal - the others are scrappy. (I need to get some graph paper and color up how they will be pieced....)

Second, this quilt is my first Star Fling quilt. Yes, DebR my star quilt is now done too! Similar yet different..... Aslo similar to Finn's quilt in progress (scroll down to December 16, 2005.)

I have started to trim scraps and squares down to 3.5 inches (those that are not big enough to be 5 inch squares - aka nickels) so that I can make more of these. This quilt is for my cousin's daughter, Kassidy. I was out of contact with my cousin until very recently - so Kassidy is a toddler. Kassidy's mom Cheryl is expecting her second child - that baby quilt will be shown tomorrow. (Yes it is done - before the baby is even here.)

This pattern is so easy and forgiving and FREE. If you have a need for a swap block or have a group of quilters with varying skill levels you could use this pattern to make a nice gift quilt.

My next one will have an Americana feel as I have already cut red and blue background and point squares. I will mix them with whites as backgrounds and points. not sure how the will all gotogether, but I am sure that they will.....

Now to remind myself that I want to do Nickel Quilts this year.... (Technically this is "Nickel friendly"......)

With all of that said, I think this is my official, "I need a gift quilt" pattern.

I have a included some close-ups so that you can see the quilting. On this one I let Linda, "play." Actually, I always just let the long arm quilter "play." I figure part of what I am paying for is the quilting decision. And it is very rare that I have a

definate idea on how I want something quilted. Maybe that is why I don't really try to quilt myself......

This quilt is a good example (aside from the pink excessiveness and single background fabric) of what I like to do. Stripes, brights, dots, novelties....

goals update.....

I posted about this quilt earlier, but I wanted to show it again bound and how on the back I used a left over Jewel Box block from the Brides Maids quilts in addition to a selection of "other" greens and reds. I just kept adding until it was big enough to be a back.

I forgot to even mention the Nickel Quilts that I want to make from the second book, More Nickel Quilts..... I want to do the cover quilt in Orientals. I am swapping Oriental fat quarters - then I'll be ready to count and make specific decisions on this one, but I have started to sort for this one. (I also want to add some taupe backgrounds that I need to cut.)
Also in that book, but not photogrpahed on the website I want to do Dawn to Dusk in batiks - those nickels have been together waiting for a while..... But I will arrange the blocks differently.....
And, I have three tops already sewn together from that book, pinwheels, Jacob's Ladder, & Beach Party. I may do Shoo Fly to use up my Robyn Pandolf nickels, not sure yet.....

And then there are "nickel friendly" patterns..... For example, those die cut hearts that are sold throught the Keepsake Quilting catalog fit perfectly in a nickel - I have a top where I appliqued a set of the Jewel Toned ones on to black nickels. (I have no idea "why" I bought them, but I have finally used them!) With that said, I want the blues ones for a pile of WOW nickels.....

Last night I finished trimming my nickels for the stretched star (I have 150 - need to take out 9) and started to trim the background to make the corner triangles..... Of course mine will be different but the main background will be a moda marble in teal. Not my color, but I have a chunk of it in my stash, so I am using it like a good stash quilter! I actually inherited it from a quilty friend who died of cancer several years ago - I smile every time I use a "Lynda fabric."

Cher mentioned that she hope that I do not tire of using my nickels - I am hopeing that the variety will keep my interest in addition to the fact that I have them ready as kits....

Photos in my next blog, I just needed to get this down in cyberspace - part of my reminder - reminders help me reach my goals..... (So get ready to read updates & if you don't see them feel free to ask - I might need some motivation.....) The squeeky wheel......

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

(Day late & a dollar short....)

Judy's question fits in wonderfully with my planned blog today! (Great Minds & all)

My celebration & my goals

To begin, New Year's has been low key for me for quite sometime. I usually am sleeping by the time the ball drops. But this year I played with fabric. Since Michael is in New York for one last visit with mom as a single guy. I did not have to clear the bed after or in the middle of playing with fabric. :o)

I decided that my number 1 goal is to sort through my nickel collection and bag together projects. That sounds a lot easier that it actually was.....

After reviewing which projects I wanted to do & how, I plunged in two feet first without checking if anyone was int he way! On the other side of 24-48 hours, I am a lot closer to my goal.

I have always wanted to do a "kitchen Sink" quilt or 4 from the forst Nickel Quilts book.
Tillies Treasures pretty much as shown. Although most of my lights are on the reads as solids side. Not just WOW & COC though :o) & All that Glitters Again pretty much as shown. Alythough I probably will not use the sashing. To accomplish this feat, I pulled darks from my bags. I thought that my left over Robyn pandolf's would mix into these as well, but alas that are not dark enough & the lights did not work too well with my other lights either. (I did mix in the tone on tone dark green and cream prints.) I have the exact number of pairs for each of these quilts in a baggie ready to go!
I needed some sets of 3 tone on tones (rather hard for me to pull from my selection of nickels) for Arlington Square - but I persevered. These would not have been my number 1 choice, but I only wanted to use precut nickels. Then I marched on to pulling lights. Wait a minute - you just pulled 99% of you lights for Tillies treasures ans All that glitters - which by no means is a bad thing, but it proposes a conundrum for Arlington Square. So I pulled my lightest black on white prints. For the rest I pulled brights. Needless to say this one will be intersting. I think I have all of the nickels needed in a baggie for this quilt.
Then I wanted to do Stretched Star in novelties. I need 441 for the queen size quilt. (I could have done that in all cats without blinking, but I want a good mix of images.) I had over 400 nickels already cut in a bag & other novelty fabrics still in yardage form vieing for a chance to be in my quilt. When I return to trimming & cutting & counting I will pull the duplicate bugs, pigs, & very baby charms so that I can mix in some of my uncut wonders. Of my pre-cut nickels, not all of them were cats, but I figure that if my cat is surfing - I can use that image as a surfing image instead of as a cat image. :o) I also plan to do Morning Star in novelties as well.
I also want to do Sunny Lanes as shown and as an opposite - dark background with lights. This quilt uses Single nickels so after I pulled for the above listed quilts, I sorted single nickels into a dark pile and a light pile. (With the other 1/2 of the pair - if that was the case - in a pile to donate to a gal who is making charity quilts.)
I already have shaded 4-patch cut out and ready to sew. (Mine is autumnal with light blue background.)
And I have Paducah 9-patch (as shown) partially pieced.

My 2006 quilting goal is to piece or to finish piecing 6 quilts. One every two months - should be doable. "Six in 2006" is my motto!

On the non-quilty side, I would like to lose several pounds. (not sure exactly how many, but size 10 sounds good.) To do this I am going to try to count calories rather that cut out carbs or fat.
I am also going to increase my water consumption.
I am going to exercize more, more often. (My swimming class starts on Jan. 7)
I am going to drive to work less often (helping increase my walking portion of the exercize regimine.)

I want to have a happy wedding on February 19, a wonderful honeymoon in Australia in May, return to college in August, pay off my car note in September, pay off my credit card bills by November, and a nice home purchased by 2007. Purchase a minimum amount of fabric without feeling deprived. Ditto that in regards to Long Arm quilting.

Here's to a Happy Healthy Productive 2006!